Letter: Traffic - Reports show severe congestion

Traffic on Skipton Road, Harrogate.(2312033j)
Traffic on Skipton Road, Harrogate.(2312033j)

North Yorkshire’s Area Committee wants to know if congestion is a problem in Harrogate (Advertiser: Dates revealed for public consultation on relief road).

Never mind the evidence of our own eyes, I can point to a large number of reports which show severe peak hour congestion now and much worse to come with the development of huge housing estates in locations which have no regard to the capacity of the infrastructure to accommodate the extra traffic flows.

To make things worse, North Yorkshire County Council routinely offers no objection to planning applications for developments which cumulatively add significant traffic demand to overcapacity roads.

Not unfairly, Government planning policy is blamed for this. Developers are not required to do any more than the minimum needed to handle their own traffic, and Highway Authorities in this part of the country are starved of resources for infrastructure investment.

That said, I see nothing in the county council’s or the district council’s strategies to recognize the problem, let alone do anything about it.

They are determined when it comes to pushing through housing developments, but seemingly helpless to tackle the resulting traffic congestion or pollution.

We saw an example of this last week when another 125 houses were approved on Otley Road, adding to the 574 already approved and some 2500 more in the Local Plan pipeline, all on a road less than 6m wide in places where the majority of junctions are already over-capacity.

Apart from squeezing signal timings, nothing significant will be done to prevent increasing congestion in the years ahead.

Your own recent editorial and many readers’ letters lament the failure of the draft Local Plan to address the infrastructure question. We know we need houses, but built where the infrastructure exists or can be upgraded.

Locating development solely on the basis of a landowner’s desire for gain without any regard to the existence or prospect of adequate infrastructure, will have consequences which future generations will suffer.

David Siddans

Harlow and Pannal Ash

Residents’ Association